Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Everybody is talking about New Year's Resolutions this week.  The big debate is whether they are valuable or a waste of thought time.

I keep a few favorites stored away for each new January.  I pull them out, write them down, make an effort and then tuck them back into my memory  bank about February 12th.  They become "resolution reruns."  With this plan no time is wasted on making up new ones each New Years Eve  after the song Auld Lang Syne has been sung by the fat lady.

Many years ago I decided that rather than concentrate on resolutions that would make my life absolutely 100 % better and then get discouraged and fail I would instead choose to LEARN something new each winter. Scientists tell us now that continuous learning keeps the brain cells busy and active and supposedly wards off early dementia.  I'm all for that!  And the dreary winter months are a great time for such adventures. 

The list of past learning projects reads like a comedians joke book, the list of new skills I long to master mimics a  "bucket list." 

There was the year I learned to roller skate. I think I was 35 at the time and can happily recall that no bones were broken before ditching that sport.  I spent hours toning those inner thigh muscles before the realization hit that I would NEVER get past the first draft of roller derby wannabes.

A couple of years ago knitting was the obsession.  That hobby is still evident by three or four half-done projects laying around the house.  I pick it up from time to time  and very proudly declare "I can knit."  The big lesson learned there is that knitting is not as easy as knitting teachers say it is.  There are complicated stitches to master, a foreign language to decipher and patterns that would make NASA scientists shake their heads in dismay trying to figure them out.  After hundreds of dollars of classes and all the paraphernalia that goes with knitting I've "been there and done that." However,  I still consider learning to knit as one of my greatest accomplishments. 

Then there was the year of learning to ice skate. If I remember correctly that was the year the whole family was interested in the Winter Olympics! There were a few splats that would have won the prize on  America's Funniest Home Videos had we recorded and submitted them.

The year I tried to learn to snow ski left my teacher, who also happened to be our daughter-in-law Jamie, with unrepairable damage to her right hip. We have some family stories about that fiasco that still brings tears to our eyes and pain to the tummies with laughter.

Belly dancing, line dancing, and numerous exercise routines have also come and gone.

This year I've toyed with the idea of learning to play the violin.  Good violin music makes me weep. The purity of that sound brings tears to my eyes without any explainable emotion.  I would LOVE to master the violin.  That might take years, but I'm looking into lessons and the cost. Yes, the cost might inhibit some of my grandiose plans!

Speaking of cost, Honeybuns has suggested that my Jan. project be the art of budgeting! He loves numbers, always has and always will.  I can't even remember the pin number to my bank account so we had to make a rhyme out of it so I could function there.  I doubt learning to understand the family budget will rise to the top of the list.  Surely brain cells aren't stimulated by such a mundane boring  time consuming effort.

My debate now seems to focus on 1. learning to scuba dive or 2. learning to recognize and understand the great works of art. 
Since I have yet to learn to swim and have a terrible fear of being submerged in water, I'm leaning toward the art project. Surely there are computer programs or online classes that will be a great tool for this endeavor.  There must be great joy in being able to identify a  Rembrant from a Ruebens from a Reynolds from a Renoir at just a glance. Yes, that's it, this year I'll  aspire to become an expert in the great works of art. I'll begin today.  I have visions of new coffee table books, road trips to great museums and perhaps even a trip to the Hermitage. Wow, that would be fun! 

When Honeybuns gets his budget perfected I'll spring this news on him!

Now that that is settled, I'll get back to folding the laundry.  No need to waste any more time debating with myself!

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